Everything I Read In September 2020

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September was a huge reading month for me compared to August! It’s mostly thanks to my new love for graphic novels, but still. I also finished my 2020 reading challenge which was to read 100 books!

I do have a couple other challenges I’m working on but haven’t been working towards actively. I’ll have to check on those. In the meantime, grab a coffee because we’ve got 20 books here today!

If you’re interested in trying Audible, you can get your first month free which includes a free audiobook!  This is a great option if you want to listen to books more.  If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd!  You can get your first month free there.

The Fox

Author: Sólveig Pálsdóttir

Genre: Nordic Noir

Rating: 2/5

About the book:

Guogeir Fransson is a Reykjavik police officer trying to put tragedy in his professional life behind him while resolving personal turmoil. To do this, he moved far from home to Eastern Iceland and when he hears about a foreign woman who moved to the tight-knit town and disappeared just as fast, his detective sense starts tingling.

His investigation brings him back to Reykjavik before a remote farmhouse in the mountains where he finds an elderly woman, her son, and their sinister past.

Final thoughts: I came across this as I was working on my books set in Iceland post and it sounded good. But, here we are. From GoodReads (but actually just 2 thinking about it now):

Probably more of a 2.5. Proposed title change: “Sajee, the Asian girl you can’t understand when she speaks because of her conspicuous cleft palate”

I know this is translated so I can forgive some of the odd wording but there were a ton of typos in here and the whole time I was reading it I just wanted it to be over. It felt dragged out but also like it could have been fleshed out more and was a strange plot overall.

How to Hang a Witch

Author: Adriana Mather

Genre: Fantasy magic

Rating: 5/5

About the book:

Samantha Mather and her stepmother recently moved to Salem, Massachusetts where they aren’t exactly welcomed with open arms thanks to their last name and it’s unfortunate connection to the witch trials. She becomes the target of a group of girls called The Descendants, yes of the other side of the witch trials.

As if that weren’t enough, she also encounters a ghost. A cute but angry ghost. Soon they discover that Sam is at the center of a centuries old curse and now she has to find a way to get along with the ghost and The Descendants to help break that curse before it’s too late. I just read this and I loved it! If you want a witchy book that takes place in Salem, this is a great choice.

Final thoughts: I LOVED this book. I got it at BAM in the bargain section last year and was questioning my decision on that. I finally read it, so good. I immediately got the next book after.

Direct from my Good Reads review: I never thought I’d be rooting for the ghost romance but here we are.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 and #2

Author: Jordie Bellaire, Joss Whedon, Dan Mora

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: If you’re a fan of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer show, you have to read these. All Buffy Summers wants at her new school are friends, decent grades, and to escape her destiny as a vampire slayer tasked with defeating all forces of evil.

Final thoughts: I’ve never seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though I want to, but figured I’d give these a shot. I liked them but they didn’t blow my mind. I think I would enjoy them more if I watched it then read them.

Rolling in the Deep

Author: Mira Grant

Genre: Fantasy/sci-fi

Rating: 4/5

About the book:

The Imagine Network commissioned a documentary about mermaids to be filmed from the cruise ship Atargatis, but they really didn’t expect to see anything that they didn’t normally, like eyewitness accounts that amounted to nothing.

And they really didn’t expect to see real mermaids and certainly not with teeth. Whether it’s a hoax or a tragedy, this is the story of the Atargatis, lost at sea with all hands on deck and the truth can only be found below the bathypelagic zone in the Mariana Trench.

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this. It’s actually a novella and I haven’t read the book it goes with, so maybe I would have felt differently then, but for what it was, I enjoyed it.

I came across this one while I was getting my mermaid books post ready (this is a trend for me) and gave it a shot. I like that it’s different than most mermaid books and it actually a little creepy.

The Hazel Wood

Author: Melissa Albert

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3/5

About the book: Alice and her mother have spent most of their life on the road, running away from the bad luck that plagues them. When Alice’s grandmother, a reclusive author of cult-classic fairytales, dies on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice’s mom is stolen away by someone who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel world where her grandmothers stories are set.

Now Alice has to get her mother back and her only instructions left for her are “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Final thoughts: This fell right in the middle for me. I enjoyed parts. I wished it would end sooner than it did. Not my favorite, not the worst. I honestly can’t even remember specifics I did and didn’t like about this.

Also, this is not a fairytale retelling. Alice was just a poor name choice to make you think it is.

Love and Luck

Author: Jenna Evans Welch

Genre: Contemporary travel romance

Rating: 5/5

About the book:

Addie’s aunt is having an over-the-top wedding in Ireland and all she wants to do while she’s there is forget her terrible heartbreak. Too bad her brother Ian won’t let her forget. This leads to a fist fight at the wedding and now their trip and futures are in jeopardy.

Then Addie finds the Ireland for the Heartbroken guidebook and her anxieties begin to ease.

Suddenly their travel plans change and Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle with Ian and his cute Irish friend. She hopes the guidebook will help heal her heart and her relationship with her brother.

Final thoughts: OBSESSED. I loved Love and Gelato and got this for my birthday. I finally read it and it was just as good. I really enjoyed that this wasn’t all romance focused, but also on repairing her relationship with her brother. It was a refreshing change and I CAN’T WAIT for Love and Olives.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Author: Kelly Thompson, Veronica Fish, Andy Fish, Jack Morelli

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 5/5

About the book: Sabrina is struggling to juggle regular teen life and teen-witch life. She has recently moved to Greendale with her Aunts Hilda and Zelda. She finds herself with a rival right away, in a love triangle, and trying to save the high school from evil monsters.

Final thoughts: I loved this, but I love everything Sabrina. It’s a little darker than the original show, but not as dark as the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Good middle ground and wonderful art.

One More Croissant for the Road

Author: Felicity Cloake

Genre: Travelogue

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Felicity is a self-proclaimed croissant connoisseur and an actual food writer. She sets off on her own Tour de France, but it’s more of a Tour de French Food.

She’s on a mission to try the best foods from each region and as many croissants as possible. This is a humorous account of her 3,500 km biking journey and all it’s challenges. Oh, and don’t forget the lycra!

Final thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed this. After a while I was ready for it to be done though. The humor was enough for me probably by 80%. It did not make me want to bike long distances and it didn’t make me want to try too much french food, but it did make me want to go to France more.

Manor Black

Author: Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, Tyler Cook

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 3/5

About the book: Roman Black is the patriarch of a powerful family of sorcerers whose children will fight for who will take the reigns of Manor Black and become the representative of the black arts someday.

Roman Black takes a young mage under his wing and gifts them all his powers in the hope that someone good will take his place and fight the evil spirits threatening to take his family down.

Final thoughts: This was weird. It felt like I was just thrown into the story with no introduction. It was a little confusing. I loved the art but the rest of it was just fine.

Riverdale Vol. 1

Author: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Alitha Martinez, Joe Eisma

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: This is kind of like a between the scenes of season one of Riverdale. It includes main bits, but also what’s happening around those: Betty at her internship, Archie and Ms. Grundy, Jason Blossoms murder, and Jughead witnessing it.

Final thoughts: I like this, but I like Riverdale. If you like it this may be enjoyable for you. Each character has a different style of art, too, which is cool. It’s nothing groundbreaking but it was fun seeing the between the scenes.

The Midwinter Witch

Author: Molly Ostertag

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 5/5

About the book: Aster has always looked forward to the Midwinter Festival, a family gathering with a fun magical competition, the Jolrun tournament, that he plans on participating in as a witch.

His friend Ariel is facing much darker things, like who the witch is that’s been visiting here in her dreams. She attends the festival with Aster and nothing goes as planned. A dark force has invaded the festival and everyone has to come together to fight it.

Final thoughts: This is the third in the Witch Boy series, but I don’t think it’s totally necessary to read them in order (I read this one first and wasn’t that lost.) I did really enjoy this one and will definitely be reading the first two. This is a great juvenile graphic novel for all ages and it is one I think everyone could stand to read.

Surviving the City

Author: Tasha Spillett, Natasha Donovan

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 5/5

About the book: Miikwan and Dez are best friends. Miikwan is Anishinaabe and Dez is Inninew. Together, they navigate the perils of growing up in a city. They’re so close they’re more like sisters and even did their berry fasts together.

But Dez’s grandmother becomes too sick for Dez to keep living with her and the threat of a group home looms over her. Knowing this, Dez doesn’t want to go home and disappears. This brings back the memories of Miikwan’s mother’s disappearance. It’s up to their community to help find Dez.

Final thoughts: This was SO GOOD. It was very touching and I actually almost cried when I was reading it. I would highly recommend this, especially if you’re trying to diversify your reading and are interested in Canada’s First Nations people.

Pemmican Wars

Author: Katherena Vermette, Scott B. Henderson

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Echo is a 13-year-old Métis girl who was separated from her mother and is adjusting to her new life and school. Then, one lecture in school turns extraordinary and her life will never be the same.

During the lecture, she finds herself transported to another time – a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie – and back to the present. She slips back in time over the next few weeks visiting a Métis camp, seeing the old fur-trade routes, and even experiencing the Pemmican Wars.

Final thoughts: I liked this one quite a bit and read the next one, too. It’s much more graphic heavy than word heavy, which was really well-done in this one. This is also a great one to read if you’ve ever felt a little lost with yourself and your identity.

Cheshire Crossing

Author: Andy Weir, Sarah Andersen

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 3/5

About the book: This is a crossover story for fairytale lovers. Dorothy from Oz, Alice from Wonderland, and Wendy from Neverland meet up in boarding school where they learn to harness their magical powers. Soon enough they’re dashing from one universe to the next saving each other while trying to stop the Wicked Witch and Hook who have made quite the deadly love match.

Final thoughts: Direct from my Good Reads: The story itself was a little weird. I like the crossover idea but it was very literal and didn’t have anything new to it. And it was an odd mix of new “hip” writing and older English. I enjoyed the art style though.

A Study in Emerald

Author: Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone, Dave Stewart

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 3/5

About the book: This is a supernatural detective mystery where a brilliant detective and his friend try to solve a horrific murder, following the clues and the murderers tracks through the slums of Whitechapel to the Queen’s Palace.

Final thoughts: I thought it was just ok. It’s vaguely reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and I did like that the mystery kind of keeps going, but it wasn’t my favorite. It definitely isn’t bad though. I liked it more than Steeple.

Steeple

Author: John Allison, Sarah Stern, Jim Campbell

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 2/5

About the book: This is the story of two friends from wildly different backgrounds and world views. One is a member of the Satanic Church and the other is a Vicar in the catholic church. They soon find themselves having to choose sides between good and evil during the rapture that is taking over their small town.

Final thoughts: I didn’t love it, but I did enjoy the style of art in it. The story itself wasn’t my favorite but it’s not terrible either, it just feels like it moves really fast and could be fleshed out a little more.

The Buying of Lot 37

Author: Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

Genre: Sci-fi

Rating: 4/5

About the book: This is the third collection of Welcome to Night Vale episodes in book form. The wonderful illustrations continue as do the exciting behind the scenes looks and commentary.

Final thoughts: Like usual, I loved it. Also like usual, I was ready to be done with it as I got closer to the end. I can’t binge these books, I have to read the pretty spread out but they’re just fun and weird.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3/5

About the book: Mina is sixteen and motherless and her father is a vicious magician. Her father cut her failing heart out and replaced it with one made of glass which has never beat with love, or anything for that matter. When she visits Whitespring Castle for the first time, she sees the king and forms a plan to win his heart.

Lynet is fifteen and looks just like her late mother. Turns out, a magician made her from snow in the dead queen’s image. Even though she was made from her dead mother, she would much rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother Mina. Soon her father wants Lynet to take over the southern territories that were Mina’s. Mina starts looking at Lynet with hatred and Lynet has to decide if she should win back her only mother or defeat her.

Final thoughts: This definitely wasn’t bad. I did enjoy it and would recommend it if you like fairytale retellings, but it’s not my favorite. Again, falls right in the middle.

Direct from Good Reads: Maybe a little closer to 3.5. The snow and glass was very literal in this and the magic involved was a little, uhh, underwhelming I guess. I did overall enjoy it but it though as a nice light read. Also, too much “hair covering her face”.

Snow, Glass Apples

Author: Colleen Doran, Neil Gaiman

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: This is a.. strange.. retelling of Snow White where the not-so-evil queen is terrified of her monstrous stepdaughter and is determined to repel her from her kingdom.

Final thoughts: Two Snow White retellings in on month! Direct from Good Reads: That was..strange. Much more erotic than expected, which was none. And it had a necrophiliac prince which was..odd. But the artwork was top notch!

An Enchantment of Ravens

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

About the book: Isobel is the best painter in whimsy and makes a living painting portraits of a dangerous set of clients: fair folk. These immortal creatures can’t do any craft without crumbling to dust, but they crave human craft and make deals of enchantments in exchange.

When she receives her first royal Patron, the Autumn Prince Rook, she makes a mistake and paints human sorrow in his eyes. He returns, furious, and whisks her away for trial, but along the way they run into attacks on every side.

As they depend on each other so much, they begin to develop feelings for each other, maybe even love, though that is forbidden by the fair folks ruthless laws and could render both of their lives over.

Final thoughts: I loved this! Its kind of like ACOTAR, but better. (I finally read ACOMAF and it’s still just ok, by the way.). I liked how whimsical this one was, I liked the interactions with the fair folk. I loved the way the world sounded. And that it was more of a journey book. I’m just sad it’s not a series, but I’d read it again.

To the Moon and Timbuktu: A Trek through the Heart of Africa

Author: Nina Sovich

Genre: Travel memoir

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Nina always yearned for adventure in far off places but at 34 she found herself married and contemplating motherhood while living in Paris. She catches her reflection in a window and no longer sees the fearless woman of her youth.

Inspired by female explorers of the 1800s, she hops on a plane headed to West Africa to make her way overland to Timbuktu on her own.

Final thoughts: I’m obsessed with travel memoirs, especially about far flung places and far flung this is. Who knew I’d want to visit Mali and Mauritania now? This is adventurous but also thoughtful and introspective.

One complaint I saw in reviews is how privileged she is but she doesn’t even acknowledge it, which didn’t really bother me. She spent a lot of time getting to know locals and spending time with them. I loved this.

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a Wisconsin native currently working my way around the US. You can probably find me reading on the beach, wandering through the desert, or hanging out in a cute little coffee shop.

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